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The Reality of Animal Gas Chambers

Updated on November 21, 2011

What Really Happens

The use of gas chambers for euthanasia in animal shelters is legal in many states, but that doesn't make it any less of a barbaric form of torture for innocent, unwanted animals who are unfairly subjected to its fate.

It's not as innocent as you may be lead to believe; the animals don't just take one breath of the gas and drift off into unconsciousness. That's what animal lovers like myself desperately want to believe. But it's not the truth.

So what really happens once the chamber door is shut in the face of whimpering animals? A shelter worker turns on the gas, and carbon monoxide is pumped into the probably-overcrowded chamber.

It can take up to 40 minutes of agony for the carbon monoxide to build up in the animals' lungs in order to finally kill them. Here are the true, cold hard facts of what the animals experience during this torture, and suggestions that will help put an end to animal gas chambers and how to protect an animal from landing in such a situation in the first place.

1. Pain

The carbon monoxide causes the animals' eyes and nose to burn. They howl in pain. The cells in their body reject the carbon monoxide, and keep the animals from inhaling any oxygen. Therefore, they suffocate to death.

2. Panic

The frightened animals snap at each other and often fight. Baby puppies (yes, they are in there, too) begin to paw desperately on the chamber walls, trying to escape. They frantically dig their noses underneath the door, trying to get a breath of fresh air. This is truly heartbreaking.

3. Sometimes The Pain Isn't Enough

Some animals have to suffer a second round of the torture chamber because they didn't die the first time.

4. How Can You Stop and Prevent This?

Spay/neuter your pets. Quit making excuses, and take responsibility for them. They depend on you to take care of them and protect them, so don't let them down. If you don't want to breed your animals, don't let it happen, or chances are, those adorable baby pups or kittens will wind up in an animal shelter, where they are more than likely to get euthanized, due to the fact that there are too many neglected pets and not enough homes. And the next time you're longing for a furry friend, adopt an animal from your local shelter rather than getting one from a pet store. By doing this, you are discouraging the operation of cruel puppy mills, and at the same time, you are saving an animal from Death Row. Also, protest the use of animal gas chambers! There are online petitions available to sign up against the use of gas chambers in your state, or perhaps anywhere else in the country. Unlike these poor animals, you have a voice, so use it to help those out who cannot speak up against injustice. Social networking sites, Facebook in particular, has a "Cause" page dedicated to those who want to ban gas chambers, and on the site, people are given the opportunities to sign petitions, recruit our friends to do the same, and perhaps donate a bit of money to help support and feed the animals in the shelter. It wouldn't hurt to pitch in. More money means more food and space for new animals, which means a greater chance of living longer in that place. 

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    • nataliejs profile image
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      Natalie Schaeffer 4 years ago from Farmersville, CA

      Yes, it is sickening. But not everyone looks at it that way, unfortunately; they see animals as "objects" that deserve no compassion, and they think that it's okay to just throw them away if they are unwanted...like trash. But luckily, there are those of us who see animals for what they are: beautiful LIVING creatures that feel pain and terror just like we do. Thank you for passing this info onto other people. I don't think very many people are aware of what really goes on at the pound, which is a contributing reason why they end up taking their animals there with the false assumption that they will find a new home.

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      I read this 17 months ago and came across it again. The thought of doing this to animals is sickening. Do you know that any progress is being made in doing away with such a practice?

    • nataliejs profile image
      Author

      Natalie Schaeffer 5 years ago from Farmersville, CA

      @BundleUp, don't let the sadness of this article bring you down; let it inspire you! Tell your friends and family, and hopefully they will think twice before giving up so easily on their pet. I also love and treat my pets as if they were my own children, and heck...they are! I'm glad that you are honest with your daughter about issues like this, even though it's unbearable to accept.

    • BundleUp profile image

      Marianne 5 years ago from Ambler, Pa

      I could barely get through this article without bursting into tears. How very, very sad for these poor unfortunate creatures.

      In my family we are animal activists and have a dog and three cats that are all members of the family.

      I try to make my six year old daughter aware of what really goes on with homeless and unwanted animals, but this is a reality that she needs to be a lot older to hear. It would break her heart.

    • nataliejs profile image
      Author

      Natalie Schaeffer 5 years ago from Farmersville, CA

      @GoodLady, thanks for the encouragement. It was emotionally difficult for me to write this hub, but then I thought of how difficult it must be to die in a gas chamber only because I'm unwanted.

    • nataliejs profile image
      Author

      Natalie Schaeffer 5 years ago from Farmersville, CA

      @Megan, thanks! @Kathy, that is so sad that animals are mislead into thinking they have a forever home :( How can someone be so heartless? Pets are wonderful gifts...if they are gifted to the right people.

    • nataliejs profile image
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      Natalie Schaeffer 5 years ago from Farmersville, CA

      @habee, I agree; animals should at the very least, die peacefully without pain. Thanks for the vote, and pass this message along! I am appalled that a SHELTER would electrocute their animals that they supposedly care so much about. That just infuriates me.

    • nataliejs profile image
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      Natalie Schaeffer 5 years ago from Farmersville, CA

      @ripplemaker, thanks! The more people hear of this, the better. @blairtracy, I know it's difficult to watch and even imagine, but the good news is that if enough people care enough to take action and responsibility for their pets, we can do something about it!

    • GoodLady profile image

      Penelope Hart 5 years ago from Rome, Italy

      Excellent, courageous and very important information that's best to have out in the open - just as you have done.

      Thanks.

      Enjoy Hub Pages

    • profile image

      Kathy Pop 5 years ago

      Thank you so much for bringing this to people's attention.

      Great timing too, since so many pets given as gifts are soon abandoned or dropped off at the local shelter!

      I hope people finally get it that animals are NOT disposable, they are loving, living beings- just like we are, well, most of us anyway.

    • profile image

      Megan Mason. 5 years ago

      Please visit my face book page to learn more https://www.facebook.com/pages/Take-Action-Help-Ba...

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 5 years ago from Georgia

      I'm all for lethal, painless injections. At our local shelter, back decades ago, the animals were electrocuted - even worse than being gassed.

      Voted this WAY up!

    • blairtracy profile image

      blairtracy 5 years ago from Canada

      This subject truly breaks my heart. And as sad as it makes me to read about it. I am happy to see that you are making people more aware of the horrible truth. These dogs deserve the truth.

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 5 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      It is too awful to watch! I literally cringed! :(

      Let your hub be heard. Congratulations on your Hubnuggets nomination. Be reading and voting, you get the chance to be on the Hubpages newsletter and your hub will be circulated to lots of readers. To vote this way please: http://redelf.hubpages.com/hubnuggets6/hub/How-To-...

    • nataliejs profile image
      Author

      Natalie Schaeffer 5 years ago from Farmersville, CA

      @Simone Smith oh yes, there definitely are animal gas chambers. Many states are banning the use of them, but there are still quite a few of them lingering around, particularly in the south, for some reason. Pretty horrifying, isn't it? But very real. Spread the word. Maybe hubs like these will motivate people to quit their irresponsible animal breeding.

    • nataliejs profile image
      Author

      Natalie Schaeffer 5 years ago from Farmersville, CA

      @wordscribe43 thanks for the tweet! My goal is to get as many people aware of these issues as possible, in order to hopefully alleviate this brutality to animals. So thanks =) I, too, get heartbroken and teary-eyed when I hear of animal suffering, but turning a blind eye from these problems won't make them go away, so I turn my sadness into fuel to put this information out there. Thank you for volunteering at a no-kill shelter! Those animals didn't ask to be there, and they need all the help they can get. And thanks for the nomination.

    • wordscribe43 profile image

      Elsie Nelson 5 years ago from Pacific Northwest, USA

      I Tweeted this hub, by the way. I never Tweet, so you know it made an impact on me.

    • wordscribe43 profile image

      Elsie Nelson 5 years ago from Pacific Northwest, USA

      I can't tell you the emotional response this hub has given me. I am so glad you took the time to share this information though. More importantly, I'm glad you made clear the steps people need to take to stop this travesty. I volunteer for a no kill shelter and am going to find out what our humane society does here.

      Congrats on the Hubnugget nomination, I had to vote for this one.

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 5 years ago from San Francisco

      Good god, I didn't know THERE WERE GAS CHAMBERS!!! I THOUGHT THAT THEY JUST INJECTED THEM WITH SOMETHING LIKE WHEN THEY PUT NORMAL PETS TO SLEEP!!

      This is horrifying! I kind of wish I didn't know about this now, but I appreciate your spreading the word. The more people working to stop this, the better.

    • profile image

      Dusty 5 years ago

      I don't know why there is so much resistance to using injections instead of gassing. It is more humane and less expensive. Better yet if people would only spay or neuter their pets, there wouldn't be so many unwanted animals that have to be put down.

    • nataliejs profile image
      Author

      Natalie Schaeffer 5 years ago from Farmersville, CA

      Thanks so much for taking the time to read my hub, guys! =) I'm glad there are people out there like myself who support and encourage animal welfare. I've researched many different types of animal cruelty, and some of it is really horrifying. And most of the time, people aren't even aware of what truly goes on. So I've chosen to take the initiative to put that information out there, in hopes that it will help stop this inhumane treatment of animals. It really brings a smile to my face to know that there are so many others out there who feel the way I do about how animals should be treated. They are such precious and beautiful creatures. I have four cats and i love them to death! :)

    • Lucky Cats profile image

      Kathy 5 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California

      Brenda, if you can..keep those kittens...their life is guaranteed to go downhill from here if they end up in "the system."

    • profile image

      Brenda Durham 5 years ago

      Wow, this hub is timely for me.

      There are 2 cute kittens, just weaned, in my garage. We've been debating whether to take them to the shelter or try to have them spayed when they're big enough and keep them....

    • Ardie profile image

      Sondra 5 years ago from Neverland

      Oh my :( I didnt realize this is how animal shelters deal with unwanted animals. The poor dears dont even get any consideration in death...this makes me so very sad. Thank you for sharing this information and for including how people can help prevent this from happening.

    • Lucky Cats profile image

      Kathy 5 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California

      Hello nataliejs. This is such a heartbreaking but real hub. Thank you so much for having the strength to put it out there for all to see..to understand that we must step up and help animals in need...adopt, spay/neuter, give homes to animals in shelters...take one, two, heck...three or four..they are so easy to love and so in need of our help. We are responsible for this..we humans who have ignored our responsibilities. Gas chamber "euthanasia" (nice little euphamism for intentional killing) is one of the most painful and freightening for animals as you have pointed out so well. How barbaric we are, as a species..that we, in this day and age, still allow this to happen either by looking the other way, being irresponsible or ignoring this horrific truth. I wish there were nothing but no kill shelters...real SHELTERS, not the warehousing of unwanted animals until their death just because we find them inconvenient.

      Bless you for writing this hub, natalie js. your friend and follower, Kathy

    • princesswithapen profile image

      princesswithapen 5 years ago

      Hi nataliejs

      You're right about the fact that people should stop making excuses and take full and ultimate responsibility of their pets. Good hub, definitely an eye opener!

      Princesswithapen

    • mottiandbander profile image

      mottiandbander 5 years ago from Chd

      Nice hub. These are things we ignore always but the hub will help us to think about it and it will help them to take a step for their care.Nice hub.

      Motti and bander

    • arusho profile image

      arusho 5 years ago from University Place, Wa.

      Oh, this is so horrible, I wish no animal ever had to suffer like this!

    • profile image

      jami l. pereira 5 years ago

      Excellant hub , this should be a contest entry ! and you should write something on the S.p.c.a. and p.e.t.a check out the kennel spotlight magazine , it has alot of knowledge and new state bills coming out to protect the animals. i think that you will enjoy it , but here is one other thing .. a.. kinda did you know theory . S.P.C.A. claims its broke but has better 401k and paid holidays than some fortune 500 companies? that while people give 1 dollar to them , the animals get 1.2 cents of every dollar? yea, sickening . S.P.C.A is just an all for profit piece of crap . I voted your hub up and useful ,interesting and awesome because you did a fantastic job on it ! have a great evening , im sharing this hub with my followers too ! :) welcome to hub pages !:)

    • thejeffriestube profile image

      Dave 5 years ago from United States

      Perhaps those that condone the use of these things should be subjected to the horrors themselves. Irresponsible backyard breeders, just looking to make a buck, and puppy mills, have the lion's share of blame on why this is even done. ALWAYS get your pet from a shelter. ALWAYS.

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Gosh, that is sickening. How people can be cruel to animals I'll never understand. The thought of those puppies trying frantically to get out of there. I think of my own little ones, and it makes my heart hurt to think of them going through that. I'll share this so that more people will read. Thanks for writing this.

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